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Amazon growing in con artists like ebay?

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Initial post: Nov 28, 2008 7:56:39 PM PST
S. Walker says:
Watch out! I have shopped Amazon for many years and although there are still good deals to be found, there are a number of rip offs popping up from other companies selling through Amazon. I can't believe Amazon is not monitoring and getting rid of sellers who are gouging prices. Case in point - take a look at the Barbie Care 'N Cure Wildlife Doctor - Panda Bear toy. Target has it for 29.99 but since that is out of stock the current price is 64.99 plus 5.99 shipping sold from KIDdesigns!?! Please voice your opinion to Amazon so they will make an effort to clean their site up before it's overrun with con artists like ebay.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 8:04:00 PM PST
gms says:
I agree!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 8:58:06 PM PST
J. Ward says:
Free Market Economy.

Seller is free to sell and you are free to buy.

There is no con here. A con is a fradulent action done through deceit. The price for what you saw was marked up, for sure. But there is no con going on. If you were to order it at that price you know exactly what you are paying. However much it originally cost is beside the point.

Most sodas cost about 2 cents to make, yet sell for up to 2000% of their cost. 7-11 practically doubles the price of candy bars. Shall we string them up?

You pay for convenience. No one is out to con you. Relax. Don't like, don't buy. That's what I say.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 9:27:10 PM PST
S. Walker says:
In reply to the Free Market Economy post,

It seems more like seller is free to gouge and I am free to search elsewhere. Amazon has been a reliable place to shop and get decent prices. I'd like to keep Amazon on my place to frequently shop. What would be the end result of Amazon letting more and more listings double the current price of say Target's prices? What would be the long term effect of me using the advice "Don't like, don't by"? The end result would be me, and other price conscious shoppers, going elsewhere. I'd like Amazon to take the approach "Fair price - repeat customers!" Get the gougers out!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 10:44:06 PM PST
S. Walker, Please refer to the other message threads regarding this same exact topic... most recently the "Extortion of Toys on Amazon!" thread.

Amazon makes a lot of money from the commissions on sales from Amazon Marketplace. Many customers appreciate the opportunity and option to order a product -- even at a higher price, if that's the case -- rather than simply seeing an "Out Of Stock" message.

Without knowing the actual costs of any particular seller, one can't determine how much profit they are making... so it's not fair to accuse them of being "con artists". Even then, if profits were disclosed, who would decide what profit level is fair? Further,eEven if a "fair" profit could be defined, who would police the sellers?

If you're not happy with the price offered for a product, please don't buy it... just find the product somewhere else. Perhaps another buyer will come along and see enough value to justify the purchase of a product that you think is overpriced.

Our society is full of examples of overpriced products that people buy every day for the sake of convenience (i.e. $5 cups of coffee, $8 popcorn at the theater, $4 bottles of water, etc). The decision to purchase or not is a personal decision involving many factors... at the magic moment of the sale, you have to decide whether the product is worth the price.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 11:07:06 PM PST
Rob says:
S. Walker, I've got to agree with J. Ward & Markus Dantinne. It's a free market. You are free to buy, or not buy, from Amazon, any other online retailer or any other store front retailer for that matter. If you do your research and know what prices are then you won't have "gouge" problems. There is no such thing as a "Fair price". It's a figment of your imagination. That marketplace sets the prices and "gougers" will price themselves right out of it. It's not up to Amazon to "clean their site up" just because YOU think that someone is charging too much. Now, if real fraud is taking place, such as charging credit cards and not delivering or not delivering the actual item order, then that's another story. But that is NOT what is happening with your "Barbie Care 'N Cure Wildlife Doctor".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 6:03:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2008 6:05:07 AM PST
S. Walker says:
I think a bigger picture is being missed. I agree I am "free not to buy". But the question is how long will most savy shoppers who once came to Amazon for prices on par with Walmart continue to shop seeing the prices doubled. I realize not all prices are doing this, and I stated this at the beginning of the topic. However if you walked into a Walmart today and found the same toy double the price it was yesterday - you don't see something wrong with that??? Wouldn't those practices lead to a lot of shoppers turning to another source? I want to keep Amazon on my "A" list of shopping experiences and am simply pointing out that a "don't like, don't buy" attitude could run them out of business in the long run. Free Market is beautiful if sellers remain accountable. If I may suggest - these gougers are more like "greed market" not "free market"". Does Amazon really want to open their identity to gougers so they can give a perception that they offer a wide variety of products?

And yes I see the point that our society is filled with overpriced items. But I want Amazon to suceed and the best way of doing that is to offer the most selection at reasonable prices. (a $30 toy being priced in the $30's but certainly not the $70's when you add shipping) Good prices is one way Amazon differentiates themselves. If they just offer selection but at any price - I can go out on the internet and Google.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 7:48:14 AM PST
Roger Ray says:
I have to agree with the majority of the posters on the board.

Its all about perception. Your perception is that 30.00 is a fair price for a widget. But what you dont realize is that walmart is price gouging you as well. That widget probably cost them 15.00 or less to buy in the first place. Do you write them about price gouging? When you go to the ball game and pay $10 for a soda, is there a public outcry about the con-artists? You expect it.

At christmas time especially, when you pay 60.00 for a widget that walmart is selling for 30.00, you aren't paying for the widget. You are paying for the service of having it delivered right to your door with the click of a mouse. You are paying someone else for their time to go from store to store to find it, stand in line and purchase it, and then deliver it to you. If you dont want to pay the price, then go store to store to find it, stand in line to purchase it, and then bring it home and enjoy it. Its all about choices and free market.

Some people pay to have their laundry done. They could do it themselves, but dont have the time or desire. Same with housecleaning, car washing, etc etc. Likewise some people pay personal shoppers to do their christmas shopping. Its not your only option. If you want the basement bargin price, then get off your duff, chase the sales, stand in line and go get it!

As far as comparing amazon to ebay, the comparison is apples to oranges. Amazon has a very strict set of guidelines that sellers have to adhere to. The buyer is protected 100.00% Any seller who falls below the standard of conduct that is set forth by Amazon is banned from ever selling here again.

The most marked difference however, lies in the calliber of seller that you work with on amazon. On ebay, there is an onslot of sellers AND con artists, that swoop in during the holidays to make a quick buck, take their money and run.

Amazon ONLY allows sellers that are year round sellers, that have a proven track record of superior service during the off season, and consistantly provide fair and honest service.

Opportunists? Yes. Con artists? hardly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:03:20 AM PST
Latenite says:
I've got to agree with the majority here - if you feel someone is charging too much, don't buy from them - plain and simple. I use the Amazon Marketplace constantly, even just to keep tabs on items I'd like to purchase in case some great deal comes along.

I can't count how many times some book I've wanted that is out of print has been listed at $70 or more from one seller and then a week later there are 10 of them for $4 each.

The market sets the price - if the market feels the price is too high, that item will sit there for weeks unsold until either someone comes along who is willing to pay the amount or the seller adjusts their expectations in order to move the product.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:15:46 AM PST
D. Verbiest says:
I've been reading this thread and I am confused.
I did not know Amazon was known for low prices. I think people shop on Amazon, because Amazon has things that can not be found at Wal-mart or Target. I don't think Amazon will go out of business because of overpriced toys, but rather they'll succeed because they have a large network of sellers who can offer a large array of items that other places can't. Wal-mart and Toys-r-us "sell out" of toys and never get them back in stock...they rely on manufacturers ...once a manufacturer stops producing something, Wal-mart can no longer get it. But because of Amazon "marketplace" set up there are always sellers who will offer items not available anywhere else. Just look at Wal-mart's website or "Brick and Mortar" store...who has a larger selection Amazon or Wal-mart? True you may have an example where a seller is selling an exact item that Wal-mart has at this moment but how about last week or three weeks from now... was...or will that item still be available? I'll also bet for every item that you can find at Wal-mart on a given day that you say is "over-priced"... there are ten items that seller offers, you will NOT find at that Wal-mart on the same given day. So where do you start with trying to figure what the "value" of a given item, what's "overpriced" if it's no longer available? Should Amazon check the local Wal-mart and see if an item is in stock, if it is then tell the sellers to reduce the price? And should they only tell the sellers in California to lower the price because it's in a store in California, but the sellers who sell in Michigan can raise the price because it's not currently in the Michigan store.
Amazon has advantages....even if some things are "overpriced"...It's like E-bay, but with a "money-back" guarantee not offered thru E-bay. Another advantage of Amazon is that the price is set, no bidding. I do see these sellers who overprice things and shake my head, but someone must be buying their stuff or they'd be out of business, right? People are smart, they will pass on the "over priced" item until it's no longer available, that's when the "gougers" will sell the item and if you're foolish enough to buy a $30.00 toy for $70.00 with out looking around then you're lazy or you're dumb
If you want Amazon to offer the best value then your choices will be limited, you can't the lowest prices and the largest selection.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:21:35 AM PST
Bow says:
I saw one of their sellers had posted a wii for $999. Give me a break. The sad thing is, someone with nothing better to do with their money and want to buy one as a gift will pay that.

I won't pay any more than retail. I'm currently looking for a wii fit and amazon is sold out, but their other sellers have them from $130. Nope, not going to do it. I will find it for $89.99 as it should be. It's all my choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:47:20 AM PST
M. Combs says:

You are absolutely 100% correct!! This stuff always happens, especially around this time of year. When demand goes up and supply goes down, prices ultimately go up and up and up--it is just a matter of how much one is willing to pay and how badly you want the item! No one says it's right, but it's not illegal or a reason to remove the seller.

J. Ward said it best: "Don't like, don't buy."

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 11:09:45 AM PST
Miss Darcy says:
I am surprised that no one has commented that, during the holidays, has *Limited* who can sell toys. I remember getting several emails about it. So, by limiting the number of sellers who can offer an item, then I do think they are giving them the green light to hike up the price. Look at the Barbie Hug and Heal pets. Amazon and Target have them listed at around $29---but they have been OUT OF STOCK for at least a month. (Who would let this go out of stock at Christmas???) So, if you want one, you have to fork out about $65 from the seller (one of whom, I believe, is the manufacturer). No way is this fair . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 2:14:02 PM PST
Dirk Diggler says:
Actually, it is called "SUPPLY AND DEMAND." Look it up. Can't see how it is anything remotely related to being a con artist. If the price is better at Target, get it at Target. Duh.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 2:22:16 PM PST
catnip says:
What it all comes down to is greed. No time in the year is greed more apparent than in the holidays. It is shameful. The retail stores gear up everyone's greed or sense of competition of opening the stores at 4:00 am and oh by he way , each store only has five items at this great price. It is sickening. The poor Walmart employee who was killed when he open the doors to the store on " Black Friday" and was trampled to death and a pregnant lady was injured. To be "trampled to death" by greedy buyers is so disgusting. The retail stores survive by prompting greed in the buyer. Amazon has always been a stable place to buy, but I see the same greed tactics slipping into I say "buyer beware and don't get overcome with greed."vlc

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 3:49:54 PM PST
It is not realy an issue of supply and demand either if the supply is artificially limited to drive up price and the information needed for a true capitalistic transaction is not shared. I see discounts listed all of the time why not state how much above MSRP the price is. Then a buyer can make an informed decision and not feel "ripped off."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 5:53:04 PM PST
Adam S says: "It is not realy an issue of supply and demand either if the supply is artificially limited"

I disagree. The supply "is what it is" regardless of artifical limits -- whatever those are.

Adam S says: "the information needed for a true capitalistic transaction is not shared"

The information is "out there". It's the buyer's individual duty to find it. You don't really expect a retailer to provide you with a list of all of their lower-priced competitors, do you??

I agree with your last point, it would be nice if all products had an MSRP listed.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 5:59:18 PM PST
Gamer says:
Lego items are the same way. I've seen where and Toys 'r' Us will have an item for lets say 5.99 (one of the minis) and amazon through a different vendor has it priced at 34.99. I just shop multiple sights and take the best deal.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 6:07:35 PM PST
Danaidh says:
So Target is sold out.

Demand is obviously greater than supply at $29.99, which has created a shortage of the toy.
Buyers will now have to compete with each other to see who gets the available toys, and that means they will bid up the price. Demand at $64.99 may well be more in line with the existing supply, and buyers willing to pay that price get the toy.
That's economics in a free market system. I wouldn't want Amazon to interfere anymore than I'd want to see the government try to regulate prices.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 9:58:36 PM PST
Davidovich53 says:
How does charging more for a product qualify as a "con"? A con would be if a seller takes your money and runs, leaving you high and dry.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 6:35:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2008 6:51:07 AM PST
J. Ward says:
Nobody likes paying more than a product is worth, but that's just it, isn't it? What exactly is something worth? Is it MSRP or is it something else? Our society, for better or worse, revolves around money. In niche markets, such as that of purveyors of hard-to-find toys, items generally cost a premium price. As Oskar Schindler said in the film Schindler's List, "Nice things cost money." Some are willing to pay more than others and that is the way it is, like it or not. Obviously the sellers who are inflating prices are not catering to your market.

I understand the original posters' frustratation. It is easy to lash out, shout "CON ARTIST!", etc... when one sees a perceived injustice. Especially when it has an impact on something you are looking to purchase, and even more so when you can safely exaggerate over the Internet. Fortunately, we live in a society based on rightsc and freedoms. You don't have to like pornography, but the right to sell or own it is preserved (yes, I have also seen the People vs. Larry Flint). You don't have to like a seller's price, but the right to sell and the right to buy (or not) is also preserved.

In the end, I choose freedom over restriction. I'd rather the product be available at any price rather than have that price restricted 'for my own good'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 9:01:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2008 9:05:17 AM PST
G. Bieller says:
The biggest misconception people here have is exactly what is msrp. Just because walmart sells something at 9.99 does not mean that is msrp. they often buy in massive bulk and get a much lower price then smaller retailers. Sometimes walmart selling prices are less then wholesale costs on items but since walmart often buys in bulk, when they run out are often slow to replace if at all where that might not the case with a smaller retailer.
And for the other small guys selling, populations are different. Some areas with massive popultations toys may fly off the shelves and in other less populated areas or even lower economic areas the toys may sit on shelves until one of these little guys buys it , pays tax, pays gas etc and list it. they have to pay commissions to amazon and the rest becomes profit. so on a 60.00 item that costs 29.00 there profit may be 12.00. Not as much as you would think but still maybe something to help pay their bills.
Also just because a retailer lists their product for what seems a crazy price does not mean that anyone it going to buy it. there is almost always someone that will come along and compete and thus lowering the price.

also I agree I love the increase in products. I always go to amazon now as my starting base when I want info on a product. Often I will buy it there but sometimes I will find a better prince elsewhere but I love free shipping that amazon gives but even on other non current products I love the fact that I can get information on them and the review parts are awesome. I can not remember the last time I spent more then 50.00 on a product that did not have reviews. I really think it has helped me purchase products that I will be happy with without wasting my time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 10:05:14 AM PST
J. Snavely says:
I'm sure Amazon does make money from these commissions. Still... given a choice, I would gladly disable ALL third-party products from the site. I come to Amazon for decent prices, fast shipping, to use my Prime membership and for subscribe and save purchases.

If I wanted to purchase from someone else I would simply do a froogle search (I know they switched to "google product search" long ago, but it will always be froogle in my mind), and pick the best price/seller combination from there. I don't need Amazon to find a seller for me, to insert themselves into the transaction (making problem resolution more difficult), or to clutter the site with overpriced goods.


I do not consider these 3rd parties con-artists though, which implies some sort of unethical behavior.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 10:15:54 AM PST
S. Walker says:
In reply to the comment:
How does charging more for a product qualify as a "con"? A con would be if a seller takes your money and runs, leaving you high and dry.

So if I can go to Target, grab the $30 toy off the shelf and turn around and sell it on Amazon for double - I'm not conning anyone? I'm not manipulating or taking advantage??? Look just because most people are savy shoppers doesn't mean Amazon should allow the "cons" to take advantage of people who shop on their site.
I'd call this gouging and gouging is conning in my book.

Everyone is missing the point with all this "free market" talk anyway. I am questioning Amazon's identity. Are they a place to come and buy things on the net without consideration to ethics on price gouging? Or are they a secure place to shop that offers reasonable prices? All they need to do is put a rule in place that says these outside sellers are not allowed to charge over let's say a 50% mark up. People who want to sell their products for double what it's worth and rip people off can sell elsewhere - like ebay. I would like to see Amazon keep higher standards that's all I'm saying.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 10:45:46 AM PST
DeANNA says:
I agree totally!!
sellers are just buying themselfs and reselling at a small profit,
if someone dont want to buy dont..
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